Treaty 8, signed in 1899, covers portions of the boreal forest area in northern Saskatchewan. Unlike Treaties 1 through 7, which were signed between 1871 and 1877, it was not agricultural development or transcontinental transportation, but mining that spurred the treaty signing process in the north. Under Treaty 8, Indians would have the right to hunt, fish and trap throughout the surrendered tract except in those areas that were taken up from time to time for settlement, mining, lumbering, trading or other purposes. Treaty 8 also made provisions for reserves and allowed Indians to hold their land collectively as bands, or individually in severalty. The other provisions of the Treaty were similar to those of the 1870s treaties and included annuities, ammunition and twine, education, rights to hunt, fish and trap, clothing, and medals and articles for cultivation. Treaty 8 provided the federal government with terms for peaceable economic development, at a time when neither federal nor provincial government had the means to deal with any kind of Indian resistance to development in the northern parts of the province.

Rob Nestor

Further Reading

Ray, A., J. Miller and F. Tough. 2000. Bounty and Benevolence. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press.